Already popular in the Roman Empire, backgammon was among the favorite pastimes of noble families. What makes it special? It is a board game that combines strategy and luck. An alternative to chess and trictrac if you’re looking for an easy-to-master travel and outdoor game. If you are a beginner and are discovering the joys of the game, this article is designed especially for you. We will guide you step by step through the basic rules of backgammon. We will help you understand every move, every possible strategy, and the essentials to not only understand but also master your game.

Understanding the game is important for any beginner!

First of all, you should know that backgammon is a game of reasoned luck. This means that luck alone is not enough to win a game, whether it is online, through a computer screen, or in a physical competition. You also need to develop a good strategy.

Game presentation

This classic board game is played on a “board” also called a backgammon plate. It includes 24 narrow triangles, also called arrows or squares, of different colors. They form four rows, each consisting of 6 arrows, called jan.

In the center of the board, there is a division called a “bar” that divides it into two compartments. The zones formed by 6 arrows are numbered.

Remember, backgammon is played by two people. The two opponents must be face to face. They are each assigned 15 checkers or tokens. And the tokens are the same color for each participant.

Each player also has a pair of dice and a tumbler for making throws. The set also includes a doubling cube known as a doubling cube, whose role is crucial because it indicates the stakes of the game.

Wooden backgammon

The goal of backgammon

If you know the game of Chinese ladies, the goal is the same with backgammon.

In fact, during a game of backgammon, each player must bring all his tokens to the area opposite the starting area, more specifically to triangles 1 through 6. They must then be removed from the board. If you can remove all your tokens before the other participant, you become the winner.

The rules of the game and the course of a game

Preparation of tokens

Each player must first take a position in front of the board. Each is given 15 tokens. In general, they are red and white in color. But they can also be in black and white. They must be placed in the initial position. To do this, each participant must place:

Beginning of a game of backgammon

Starting positions at backgammon

Whether played online or on a physical table, the two opponents play alternately. To identify who will start the game, each of them must roll a die. The roll must be made in the compartment to their right. At the beginning of the game, it is the player who gets the highest number who gets to start. He advances his tokens using the two numbers obtained in this roll.

Let’s take an example: the first participant, named A, gets a 5 and the second participant, named B, gets a 2. Obviously, it is A who starts. He will use the 5 and the 2 to move his tokens. Then, it is the other player’s turn to roll the two dice. He moves his tokens according to the result obtained.

The roll of the dice

The dice in backgammon

How is the roll of the dice performed? Generally, participants use a cornet, which is nothing more than a glass with a round or oval opening. One has to insert the dice. Then, one must shake the glass three times before throwing them.

Caution. For the throw to be valid, the two dice must rest flat on the right side of the board. It is necessary to throw again if:

The rules and direction of movement of pawns

You should know that it is necessary to use the numbers shown on the two dice. They allow you to make two separate moves.

If you get a 2 and a 4, for example, you can move one pawn twice and another one four times. But you can also move a single pawn first 2 times, then 4 times. The principle is to advance the pawn on an arrow.

What is the direction of movement of the checkers? Each movement must mandatorily follow the counterclockwise direction. Therefore, the checkers must start from triangle 24 in the upper right corner of the board toward triangle 1. You must then move your checkers out of your opponent’s inner board toward your own. You can move your checkers toward:

If none of these movements are possible, you must wait until the next round to play again. But as long as a movement is possible, you cannot pass the round.

It may happen, for example, that you can only move with one of the dice. In this case, you should favor the higher number as long as the board configuration allows. For example, if you got a 3 and a 5 and you can only move the 3 or the 5, you should favor the 5.

Remember, a player who rolls a double can make 4 moves during the same turn. So if he gets two 3s in the dice roll, he moves his pawns 4 times by 3 triangles each.

Understanding the “affected”

When a token is isolated on a triangle, it is called a ” blot “. When the opponent’s checker lands on this square during its movement, a ” hit ” occurs. In a game of backgammon, it is said, ” the blot has been hit “. This means that it is placed on the middle bar. This maneuver can be performed several times.

We note that a pawn that has been hit can re-enter the game, but it must enter the opponent’s field. So you must get a number that allows you to advance it during the dice roll. For example, if you get a 2 and the 23rd arrow on the opponent’slast quarter is free, you can get the hit token back into the path.

If you have a hit token, it is advantageous to put it back into play quickly. Otherwise, you will lose your turn.

To remember: As long as one of your pawns is isolated in the center, you cannot advance the other pawns.

When you manage to get the blot on the bar, you can move another checker with the other number shown by the other die. To slow down the other challenger, try to get their checkers on the bar as often as possible.

Making checkers come off the board

As a reminder, theultimate goal of backgammon is to get all the checkers off the board. How to proceed. First, you need to make sure that all your checkers arrive in your triangles 1 through 6. Once you have achieved this goal, you can get them off the board, even if there are opposing checkers in your range.

How is the exit made? It depends on the number of points obtained in the roll. Normally, each number should allow you to take out a checker on the corresponding triangle. For example, if you get a 6 and a 2, then you can remove the checkers that are on arrow number 6 and box number 2.

If you get a double and there are 4 checkers on the corresponding arrow, you can get them off the board at the same time. For example, got a double 6 in the toss and 4 pieces are on square number 6, can get these 4 checkers off the board.

We note that it is possible to use a higher number to get a checker off a lower arrow. For example, a participant gets a 6 and a 5, while his remaining checkers are on triangle 1 and 3, he will be able to get them out.

However, the rule of the game states that it is always necessary to use the lowest die before the highest die. If the participant then rolls a 5 and a 1, however, he does not have more than one token on triangle number 4, he must first play with the 1. Then, he can bring out the token with the 5.

Caution. If the exit of checkers has begun while a checker has been returned to the reserve zone, it must be returned to the board. Otherwise, it is impossible to get the other checkers out. When a participant succeeds in getting all his checkers out, it is the end of the game!

What needs to be known about stakes?

It has been said before that, whoever can get all his checkers out before his opponent becomes the winner. However, you should know that there are three ways to win in backgammon:

A word on the importance of doubling cube

As a reminder, the doubling cube is a 6-sided die showing the numbers: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64. At first, it is said to be in the center. This means that the stake is 1 point. But a participant can double the stake before starting his or her turn. Before rolling the dice then, he presents the doubling cube to the opponent by showing the face with the value 2 and saying “doubling.”

The other participant has the right to decline or pass. The game then stops and he loses a point. If he chooses to accept, he takes the doubling cube on his side. The game can continue with a stake of 2.

In fact, players are required to set a goal before the game begins. They can, for example, agree that the game ends when a participant loses a certain number of points. As long as the goal is not met, the game can continue.

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